Oh for the LOVE of Avios! To Hong Kong with Swiss and BA – The Intro

Hong Kong 3: For the LOVE of Avios! With Swiss and British Airways
The Introduction

Sections:

Welcome to yet another Kevincm/GhettoIFE trip report, and once again, it’s back to my home of Row 99Z of a plane. Where I belong really and not in the big seats and wide open plains of First and Club.

It’s time for the end of year trip report and this time, we’re going to concentrate on British Airways to see if they can still deliver down the back of the plane after seeing if they delivered at the front of the plane.  However as you can see from the title… nothing is simple with me ;)

And hopefully, no hurricanes, typhoons or any of that silliness this time, and no major equipment losses…

Well. I can hope.

I’m going to apologise for the length of this Tript report – I’ve just looked at the section list… and I honestly thought this was going to be less massive than it is – sorry!!!


Memo to self: Stop looking at booking engines late at night (The Introduction)

Those who know me know that my sleeping patterns are… varied. Sometimes I get nice solid nights sleep. Other nights, I can be crashed out on the sofa after a day of shenanigans at office, and be up at midnight till 5am.

Its times like that I need to be kept well away from my credit card, the Internet and some booking engines as I found a fare on BA.com that allowed me to route from Madrid or Barcelona to London, and Hong Kong.

Now, I happen to like Hong Kong as a place to visit (well except the MTR, but that’s just me), so I ummed, ahhed, and slapped down the credit card to book it, routing the ticket from Barcelona to London to Hong Kong, and back the other way – all with nice long stops to use lounges in between.

Well, I have to take advantage of this BA Gold thing whilst I have it.

For the hotel, the new Holiday Inn Express was about to open in Soho near Sheung Wan station was due to open. Considering it was a mere 15,000 priority club points a night, that sounded a bargain to me, and a booking was made.

That was the easy bit.

The hard bit was how to get to Barcelona. And to quote Public Enemy, it’s a bit “Harder than you think”.

I had three options on the table:

  • Fly from Birmingham and hope all the connections would fall into place
  • Coach to Heathrow, BA to BCN and back
  • Ryanair

Well the 3rd option wasn’t going to happen – at all (least of all due to my love of Ryanair, but mainly due to the fact they didn’t operate to BCN on the days I wanted). The 2nd option I costed up carefully – and it could had been done on a 15K reward saver + taxes – the killer part was the coach cost which was getting back to £50 for a return ticket. Hitting revenue fares – it was heading into £160 + return before the coach.

I therefore grumbled and looked at the Birmingham based solutions, which gave me a choice of five points to go via:

  • Amsterdam
  • Paris CDG
  • Frankfurt
  • Munich
  • Zurich

The first two were struck off the list (as I don’t do SkyTeam yet), which left the Lufthansa option and the Swiss option. Both of these are reasonable options to me, although the connection times at all ends were either way too tight or way too long. Sadly, I left it way too late to book the “through in one day” tickets – this lead to me thinking.

Whilst I’ve been to Barcelona before (with Swiss of all airlines when I got my SEN card), I never stepped out of the airport. That was something I’d like to correct.

I therefore chose a departure the day before to get to Zurich, and then travel the next day from Zurich to Barcelona – with a long connection in case of a delay (which would also serve as the time to explore Barcelona).  This in turn lead to another problem – what to do with a overnight stop at the Zurich area.

As we all know, the Swiss for “Hotel” is “Open your wallet up and scream” – of which I had no intention to this time. However, in the back of my mind I remembered that there was dayrooms at Zurich Airport – with couch areas available for 40CHF for the night.

Now we’re talking my sort of cash. A quick bit of looking showed they had rooms and couches available for desired price, and an email was sent. Another was received back in a few hours confirming the details.

Here’s the map (and as I insinuated some time ago, it is truly a dot-to-dot) – the best news being I avoid National Express coaches in all shapes and form.

Map by the Great Circle Mapper – www.gcmap.com – Swiss Routes in Red, British Airways routes in Blue

So -8 segments, 6 days, 2 airlines, 1 sublease, 1 hotel and a warm couch whilst avoiding National Express.  Simple enough…

Is it?


Next: Leaving Birmingham, Servisair Lounge, To Zürich with Swiss and OLT Express on LX425

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